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April 13, 2018

Holy Martyrs Quinctilian, Maximus and Dada at Durostorum


For April 13.

Whose heads are these that lie asunder?
Quinctilian, Maximus and Dada.

Fro August 2.

The earth brings forth three dead who are life-bearers,
The heavens said it was fitting they be brought forth from where they hid.

The Holy Martyrs Maximus the presbyter, with his disciples Dada and Quinctilian, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), who issued a decree requiring everyone to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods during the public festivals, and to put Christians to death if they did not offer this sacrifice.

Tarquinius and Gabinius, the emperor’s representatives in the Thracian city of Durostorum (mod. Silistra), made a sumptuous feast, attended not only by the inhabitants of the city, but also people from the surrounding villages.

After the festivities, someone reported to the emperor that Dada, Maximus and Quinctilian did not obey the imperial decree and withdrew themselves into the Ozovia forest. Soldiers were sent after them, who caught the three at prayer and led them forth for trial.

The governors interrogated the brothers, who confessed themselves Christians. Tarquinius offered to make Maximus, who was a Christian presbyter, a pagan priest of Zeus, but the Saint called Zeus a foul adulterer and again confessed the Christ as the true God.

Tarquinius attempted to reason with Dada and Quinctilian. They said that Maximus was well versed in the Holy Scriptures and they would follow him in everything. They threw the martyrs into prison, but they thought only of the salvation of their souls. At midnight when the Saints were asleep, the devil appeared to them urging them to deny Christ. When the martyrs woke, they prayed and encouraged each other in their faith in Christ. Then they beheld an angel who said, “Fear not, for God your hope brings you to Himself. He is not far from you and will sustain you.”

In the morning, Tarquinius told the three that the gods had revealed their will to him in a dream: they were to be put to death if they did not offer sacrifice. The martyrs answered that the Lord had commanded them to endure torments for His sake.

The tortures and interrogations continued for several days from morning to evening. Finally, they sentenced the martyrs to death, led them out under guard to the Ozovia forest and beheaded them with a sword on April 28, 307. Thus the blessed ones ascended to the heavens where they were crowned as martyrs. A martyrium was afterwards built over their graves when their relics were revealed by an Angel to the local Christians, and became a source of healing. This revelation took place on August 2nd, and is annually celebrated by the Church. The martyrium was abandoned when Durostorum was destroyed by the Goths and Huns in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. This martyrium was uncovered in 2002.

It is not known when exactly, but almost certainly shortly before Durostorum was conquered by Slavs and Avars in 579, the relics were carried to Constantinople. There they were placed in the Church to the Holy Mother of God in the Viglention quarter, restored after 532 by the patrician Antonia, wife of General Belisarius.

Martyrium of the Saints in Durostorum